As Hispanics have grown into the largest U.S. minority, it’s now very common to hear Spanish being spoken in American TV series, for the sake of authenticity. But not all actors are fluent in Spanish, and sometimes words are horribly mispronounced, or the grammar is mangled.
Just an example: in a recent episode of Showtime’s “Dexter,” detectives Angel Batista (David Zayas) and Maria Laguerta (Lauren Velez) expressed their condolences to the family of a victim. But the way the actors pronounced “perdida” (loss), emphasizing the second syllable instead of the first, sent the wrong message. Instead of “I’m sorry for your loss,” they told the grieving mother that they were “sorry that you got lost.”
So Maria Elena Fernandez, journalist at the Los Angeles Times, asks the question: “Que pasa, TV networks? Is it that challenging to hire some tutors? In the same way that shows hire consultants to get medical or crime investigation procedures right, can’t you hire some native speakers to work with your actors?”